Since publishing my first book, All the People of the World, I have made a point of visiting schools for free. (I remember as a child how excited I always got when ‘the Parks Board lady’ came to screen wildlife documentaries, and I hope that delving into my books in the classroom can produce some of the same joy.)
To start with I had no idea how to market my books. So the obvious first port of call was the Durban School Libraries. What a great decision. The school librarians were amazingly supportive and very enthusiastic about my work. They invited me to read and talk to their students so as to introduce them to ‘a real live author’. I found the student's responses so profound that I let all the librarians know that I was willing to chat or read to their students for free. The result was the most amazing give-back that made the hassle of hawking books so much more bearable.
To begin with I just read my stories and spoke about them. But before long I was discussing the important social issues of diversity in All the People of the World, the health issues around ‘sneezing’ in He Sneezed on Me and now the very important issues relating to our modern ‘me me me’ culture that springs hysterically from the pages of Palace Malice.
But more than that I started speaking about waking up creativity, writing for fun, exploring words and language, story telling, the joy of sound and the creativity that comes from celebrating accents and how they shape and create meaning. This work has been amazing and I can only say that I have had a sneezed-on-me-size blast of a time from Crawford Sandton in Jhb and Lynford School in Ixopo, to Maritzburg, Durban and right up to Richards Bay.
So please, if I'm in your city, town or village and you would like me to come and interact with your students in the library or classroom, just give me a yell. I love doing it, and I will go out of my way for you!